A/N: Set in Danny's Luck verse but absolutely and categorically not in canon with that verse. I've never had the urge to actually have anyone else in that verse find out about Rusty, but I came up with this idea after watching True Blood. I don't even *like* That show, but nevertheless, here is fic.
A/N2: For those who might be unaware of what preceded this fic, I would recommend you read Danny's Luck which is chapter 33 of this story, and also chapter 37 'Unlikely' and chapter 39 'Descended'. There's also Change of Luck and A Different Present which are both separate stories that can be found through my profile. And now there's this.
The television was on the whole time they were talking through the plan, and Rusty couldn't help hearing the lead story of the day. Another attack on another vampire sanctuary. Four humans killed, and forty-eight supernaturals. And, by the sound of things, the anchor wasn't quite sure whether or not to disapprove.
"It's weird, isn't it?" Linus said intently as they broke off for pizza and beer. "I mean, two months ago the world was normal and now suddenly there's all these weird...creatures...around. How are you supposed to get used to that?"
"Ignore it?" Frank suggested. "Until it concerns me, I don't give a damn."
"Really?" Linus regarded him sceptically. "Even when you don't know what's out there? They keep saying it's more than just vampires."
"It's kind of scary when you don't know if the person standing next to you is a human being or a freak," Virgil chimed in.
Turk laughed and shoved his brother lightly. "Aw, are you afraid of the monsters?"
Only Rusty would be aware of the sudden unhappy tension in Danny. He knew what it was costing Danny to bite his tongue and keep his mouth shut. Danny didn't do well sitting and listening to people insult Rusty, even unknowingly. Especially when it was their friends.
He shot Danny the briefest of reassuring glances and leaned forwards with a bright grin. "So what do you want to do, start making book on who's human?" he asked. "Because twenty says Benedict's not."
Reuben snorted. "I'm not taking that action."
"How are you planning on checking?" Basher asked curiously.
He grinned a little wider. "We could throw him in the water and see if he floats?" he suggested cheerfully. As a matter of fact, he didn't need to check. He'd spent more than enough time with Terry to be confident that the man was entirely human. Unbelievably boring and ridiculously petty, but definitely human. Just as he knew that everyone in this room was human...except him. Though he didn't think even Linus had gone so far as to question that. Assumptions. He wondered how they'd react? On the TV the national guard were taking bodies out of the remains of the house. At this distance it was impossible to tell if they were human or vampire. He supposed that was what frightened them.
There was a sudden knock at the door and they all looked round in surprise.
"More pizza?" Virgil asked with an expectant look at Rusty.
"Don't you think we've got enough?" he wondered innocently.
"Do you think we've got enough?" Virgil countered.
He laughed. "Not me anyway," he said.
"Maybe the manager's run the credit card again," Linus suggested nervously.
"Well, there's only one way to find out," Danny said, standing up and strolling towards the door. He pulled it open and for a moment there was a stunned silence.
"Ocean?!" Toulour said at last, his voice shrill and unmistakable. "You are here? But I was looking for..." He looked past him and caught sight of Rusty and his eyes grew impossibly large. "You? But you are...you...merde." He swore for a couple of minutes, fluently and in several languages.
Rusty leaned back against the counter and smiled, watching him. Technically, this was the first time they'd met. All the way through the thing in Europe he'd been careful to make sure Toulour didn't actually lay eyes on him, knowing that it wouldn't exactly take Toulour long to realise who – or what – he was.
Danny turned his head to look at Rusty, raising an eyebrow. Rusty gave a half-shrug in answer. No, he didn't know exactly what was going on. But he was happy to let it play. At any rate, having an irate supernatural entity standing in the hallway swearing up a storm was kinda the opposite of subtle.
"Okay, would someone tell me what's going on?" Linus demanded, frustrated, as Toulour walked straight past Danny. "What's he doing here?"
"All that time...you were working with him all along," Toulour said slowly, his eyes fixed on Rusty. "You think this is funny?"
He shrugged annoyingly. "I think a lot of things are funny."
Toulour's face turned uglier. "You are a filthy cheat," he declared.
He tilted his head back and laughed. "And people say you're slow on the uptake."
"Gonna tell us what you're doing here, Francois?" Danny asked mildly, standing directly behind Toulour.
Rusty wasn't altogether surprised when Toulour ignored him, but it still had him gritting his teeth. More, when Toulour's eyes darted around the room, like he'd only just noticed there were other people around. That had always been his problem, in Rusty's eyes anyway. He didn't see people he saw assets. Convenient tools to be used and discarded. And that was probably why, when he took a deep breath and pulled himself together, the ingratiating smile he turned on Rusty was quite so repulsive. "I have come to request your assistance," he said, and the words sounded strange and it took Rusty a split second – and the sound of Linus choking in surprise – for Rusty to realise why.
He raised an eyebrow. "Latin? Really? We're doing this now?
A muscle twitched minutely below Toulour's left eye. "I thought, perhaps, there were some conversations you would prefer your associates not understand," he said.
Mmm. He couldn't quite deny it. "What do you want?" he asked with a sigh. In English. He hadn't enjoyed speaking Latin even when it was the lingua franca. Too many conjugations, too little time. Not to mention it was going to be difficult enough to explain why he could understand Latin without having to explain how he could speak it. He was just glad Isabel wasn't here. Mind you, knowing her, she'd probably like it.
With a definite glare of exasperation, Toulour continued in Latin. Silently – subtly – Rusty suggested to the universe that it would be quite nice if Danny found Latin remarkably easy to puzzle out...just from his reactions and the odd familiar word, of course. He wasn't cheating, but having Danny's thoughts on this would help no end. It always did. "Even you must have noticed what is happening in this world," Toulour said stiffly. "The humans have finally learned to see past the ends of their noses. This will not end well for us."
They were an 'us' now, who would have thought? Should he really be so surprised that it took the entire world changing overnight for Toulour to admit to having anything in common with him? He smiled lazily. "You worried about me, Francois? I'm touched."
"Do not be so blind," Toulour snapped. "I know you've always liked living among them, but you must see all that is ending. They will come after us, and they will destroy us. They are going after the vampires, for mercy's sake. What have the vampires ever done, I ask you?"
"Killed a fuck load of people?" Rusty suggested lightly. He heard Reuben take a sharp breath, and the silence grew more intense. No one was interrupting, but he could tell a lot of attention was being paid right now. He should have told Toulour to get out. Maybe met him later, if he was really that curious.
"Tch," Toulour waved a dismissive hand. "A trifling matter. They will come for all of us. I intend to get out of here before they do."
He pursed his lips. "Really," he said, carefully hiding his surprise. Leaving this world wasn't a step he would have expected Toulour to take. Not so quickly. Not so easily. He met Danny's eyes, and silently answered the questions there. Yes, it was possible. No, he hadn't considered it. "What have you heard?"
"The same things you have heard," Toulour retorted strongly. "But I do not waste my time with their ridiculous emotions like you do. I will leave, you will stay. And we will see who ends up chained in a laboratory somewhere while the humans cut you up to see how you work."
Danny took a sharp breath and he could see the shock and fear in Danny's eyes at the thought. Not something Danny had imagined, he guessed. He couldn't dent it was a possibility that had crossed his mind. But he smiled at Toulour. "No chance of that," he lied. "And I'm guessing you didn't come here to warn me. So. What do you want?"
Now was the moment of truth, and Toulour lifted his chin up and glared at Rusty defiantly. "There are not too many places willing to grant me safe passage," he admitted.
Rusty sighed. No. Of course there weren't. Toulour would seize any advantage that presented itself, no matter how many people he had to stab in the back in the process. He was all about himself and he was all about the short term, and he burned a lot of bridges. "You want to use my name?" he asked with a disbelieving grimace.
"There are a lot of doors which would open for you that would be slammed in my face," Toulour told him persuasively. "You have always been more - "
" - flattery is gonna get you a lot further from where you want to go," Rusty interrupted. He glanced over Toulour's shoulder to Danny, looking for the opinion. Danny's brow was creased and Rusty knew there was a part of him still stuck on that laboratory image. And beyond that, Danny was asking what he wanted to do.
"They will come for me," Toulour told him quietly, watching his eyes. "They will come for all of us. Look around you. Do you really believe they would protect you if they knew what you were? Pretend all you like, you are not one of them and you never will be."
He did look round. Quickly. Very quickly. There were a lot of frowns, but everyone was waiting, listening to this ludicrous one-sided conversation, and that was because they trusted him.
But he'd lied to them...
But he'd lied before, and they always forgave...
Danny's eyes reminded him fiercely that there was a difference between not-human and not-one-of-them, and that it wasn't what he was that mattered, it was who he was. Danny had hope and confidence and strength and imagination, and if the universe could change at Rusty's whim, it would change for Danny because it wanted to.
Danny had no doubts. And their friends were their friends for a reason.
He smiled. "Anyone got a pack of cards on them?" he asked without looking around.
There was the sound of shuffling, and Saul passed him a battered deck. He didn't need to search to draw out the Ace of Diamonds and with a quick flick of his fingers it was in his hand and he span it between his fingers impossibly fast and light shone through it like stardust, beautiful and bright and unreal. It was absolutely impossible. Absolutely and unquestionably not something human.
He didn't know who gasped. He chose to keep not looking round.
"There," he said calmly, handing the transformed card over to Toulour. "That should work as an introduction. After that, you're on your own."
Toulour gaped at him for a second, then looked round the rest of the room and smirked slightly. "Well, you have fun with that," he sneered, back to English again, and then he nodded with something that was at least an approximation of gratitude, and he walked out the door without looking back.
Danny was looking amused, resigned, and maybe just a little bit apprehensive. "Yeah, I'm sure that won't come back to bite us on the ass," he murmured.
For once, Rusty wasn't absolutely sure whether he was talking about Toulour or the whole thing where suddenly everyone knew.
"What...what the...you're..." Linus started spluttering, sounding about as coherent as Toulour had when he first walked in.
"Alright." Danny clapped his hands together. ""So before anyone says anything painfully obvious, yes, Rusty isn't human, yes, I've always known, yes we're perfectly fine with that, thanks very much, and yes we do have a problem with you having a problem with that."
"Any questions?" he asked brightly, and now he looked round and there was shock and surprise, and not-that-surprised-amusement, but there wasn't any horror and there certainly wasn't any fear. He was no more a monster to them than he had been half an hour ago.
Danny's look said I told you so and loftily added that he'd had complete faith all along.
Rusty's answering glance called him a liar.
Still. This had gone well. If only he could figure out how to tell Isabel...